217 U.S. 189 (1910), 99, Boston Chamber of Commerce v. Boston

Docket Nº:No. 99
Citation:217 U.S. 189, 30 S.Ct. 459, 54 L.Ed. 725
Party Name:Boston Chamber of Commerce v. Boston
Case Date:April 04, 1910
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 189

217 U.S. 189 (1910)

30 S.Ct. 459, 54 L.Ed. 725

Boston Chamber of Commerce



No. 99

United States Supreme Court

April 4, 1910

Argued March 2, 3, 1910




This Court accepts the construction of a state statute as to condemnation of land given to it by the state court.

While, in condemnation proceedings, the mere mode of occupation does not limit the right of an owner's recovery, the Fourteenth Amendment does not require a disregard of the mode of ownership, or require land to be valued as an unencumbered whole when not so held.

Where one person owns the land condemned subject to servitudes to

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others, the parties in interest are not entitled to have damages estimated as if the land were the sole property of one owner, nor are they deprived of their property without due process of law within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment because each is awarded the value of his respective interest in the property.

195 Mass. 338 affirmed.

The facts are stated in the opinion.

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HOLMES, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE HOLMES delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is a petition for the assessment of damages caused by the laying out of a public street over 2,955 square feet of land at the apex of a triangle between India Street and Central Wharf Street in Boston, the latter being a private way between Milk Street and Atlantic Avenue, laid out by the same order, as part of the same street. The Chamber of Commerce had a building at the base of the triangle, and owned the fee of the land taken. The Central Wharf & Wet Dock Corporation, which owned other land [30 S.Ct. 460] abutting on the new street, had an easement of way, light, and air over the land in question, and the Boston Five Cents Savings Bank held a mortgage on the same, subject to the easement. These three were the only parties having any interests in the land. They filed an agreement in the case that the damages might be assessed in a lump sum, the City of Boston refusing to assent, and they contended that it was their right, as matter of law, under the Massachusetts statute, Rev.Laws c. 48, §§ 20-22, and the Fourteenth Amendment, to recover the full value of the land taken, considered as an unrestricted fee. The city, on the other hand, offered to show that, the...

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